16 Nov 2022

T&G Global could see $5 million loss after fruit quality issues

4:10 pm on 16 November 2022
Apples on trees in an orchard

Issues with fruit quality hasn't helped, T&G Global says. File image. Photo: 123RF

Produce company T&G Global is forecasting a full year loss of up to $5 million after a perfect storm of factors caused quality issues with its fruit.

The forecast was a steep decline from the company's $10m profit last year.

T&G Global chief executive Gareth Edgecombe said heavy rain during the harvest of the company's premium Envy apples, coupled with fruit arriving later into markets due to supply chain issues, was behind the dip.

"Overall, we've had a high percentage of fruit which has got less of a shelf life, but still at high quality," he said.

"The Envy brand is sold at a premium, into mostly Asian and American markets, where it does command a really high premium and has to be pristine eating and tasting."

T&G chief executive Gareth Edgecombe

T&G Global chief executive Gareth Edgecombe. Photo: Supplied

"There were two issues - one was that the overall profile of the crop meant that it was ageing faster, so we had less time to sell it through the season.

"Then within the batch or within each box, there would be variable eating, so some some fruit would either be soft or not as tasty or more watery."

Edgecombe said the combination of a faster moving shelf life and variable fruit quality made this season incredibly difficult.

He hoped this season's issues were a one-off but said there were contingency plans in place, should things turn sour again.

"If we did have a season where we had completely outlying weather, which resulted in variable quality, at that point when we can see the overall picture, the game plan would more likely be to focus on the highest-quality fruit and then move to a very aggressive or very fast selling plan to ensure that we got into the market and out again without being vulnerable at the end of the season."

Edgecombe said uncertainty in markets, particularly in Europe and the United Kingdom amid worsening economic conditions, had meant the company had also reduced its forecasts for its Northern Hemisphere trading.

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